Tabung Haji to go high-tech during Haj season

MAKKAH: Tabung Haji (TH) will use technology to its fullest extent to ensure the Haj experience for pilgrims this year runs smoothly, in line with the agency's Operational Information Centre motto, "Fast and Accurate".

Makkah 1438 Hijrah operations director Datuk Ahmad Sohaimi Abd Rahim said some of the technology to be used during the Haj season this year had been tested in pilot projects last year, and were proven effective in facilitating the Haj operation.

He said five key technology components would be applied during the pilgrimage season this year.

"We have the 'SMS Blast' service … where pilgrims who have Saudi Arabian sim cards and register their phone numbers with us (TH) will get important messages and alerts which require immediate action," he told reporters at the TH Headquarters here in Saudi Arabia Tuesday.

In addition, the agency would be using the "Bravo" system, which is similar to the "walkie-talkie" or "push-to-talk" (PTT) application. This system is important for officers on duty in Makkah and Madinah to communicate with one another.

"The officers will receive information simultaneously. For example, if pilgrims arrive in Jeddah, officers in Makkah will also receive the information using the Bravo system," he said.

He said TH would also be using an application known as "Haj Mobility", to report on the movement of pilgrims during the "Masyair" period when buses go from Makkah to Arafah, Arafah to Muzdalifah, Muzdalifah to Mina, and Mina to Makkah.

"The information of Haj pilgrims will be in our 'pockets'. Reports of bus movements will not have to be made at the office in front of the computer, but it can be done outside the building, and so on. The report can be made on the ground, and immediately," he said.

Ahmad Sohaimi said TH would also utilise an Integrated Information System, whereby all operations management centres can access the system, intended to report and obtain information on all Haj operations in Makkah.

In addition, he said, the "Dashboard Haji" application would serve as a data storage centre, and act as an access point for storing and distributing information meant for pilgrims.

"This system is not just for the Haj season, but even after they return home," he said, adding that use of various technologies would have a greater impact on Haj operations this year. — Bernama